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Jane hesitated. This was a point she was not exactly versed in. On aid for 1199

she replied; "why, of course—that is

» answered the old man; “I am glad to hear it; other should doubt if it is taken for life.”

silent for a moment. She felt abashed; but at length said, in as soothing a tone as possible, “ You do not know, dear uncle, that Frank has been very successful in some speculations latelyne as ,

He does not now altogether depend on his profession for and place his wife and children upon an equality with others." I

“And what do you call an equality-living as luxuriously, and wasting as much time, as they do?-dwelling in as costly apartments, and forgetting there is any other world

than this? When you were left to my care, and your dear mother was from

us,

how often I lamented that I could not supply her place -that I could not better talk to you ‘of another world, to which

she had gone; but then, Jane, I comforted myself that I knew I ,

in these, I should be preparing you

for another. When I saw you growing up, dutiful and humble, charitable and self-denying, sincere, and a conscientious disciple of truth, then I felt satisfied that all was well. But I begin now to fear that it was a short-sighted kind of instruction—that it had not power enough to enable us to hold fast to what is right. I begin now to see that we must have motives that do not depend on the praise censure of this world-motives that must have nothing to do with it.” And so saying, he hurriedly took his leave, and departed.

Jane's feelings immediately after this interview with her venerable relative were anything but agreeable. She could impose upon others, but not upon herself. Frank, on returning home, found her more dull than usual; and upon being informed of the cause, remarked, that really Uncle Joshua was becoming a very tiresome old man-always croaking about something. This, however, did not pacify Jane’s conscience. “I might," thought she,“ have sent him home in the carriage, or persuaded him to stay and dine, and he would have recovered from his fatigue. I did, however, as I thought was best, and that is all we can do. We can only do as seems to us right for the present.” How

many deceive themselves with this opiate! The indolent, the selfish, and the worldly, lay this flattering unction to their consciences, as if doing what seems to us right for the present did not require reflection, judgment, and often all the self-denying as well as energetic qualities of our nature. stilhat evening, Jane was engaged at a large party. She was lous, she danced quadrilles and cotillons, and returned at one

'clock. As they entered the door on their return, one of the women met them, and told Frank that there had been a message

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her. They drove through the unfashionable parts of the town, stopped at Uncle Joshua's little green door, ang knacked softly A stranger woman came to the dooftw baA => che How is my uncle" said Janeznaninda tenebit ronides vaher am

He is dead !" said the woman in an indifferent tone. They Fushed in 19. It was true, so The old man lay motionlessa his fear tures retaining the first benign expression of death,

With what agony did Jane leap gyer him, and press with her parched lips his.cold forehead na battaroo I t's My more than hunden my father!" she "exelaimed, while torrents of tears fell from her eyes, recollecting the scene

felt she

was his murderer. it

home? Tell me the worst, while I have power to hear it? My poor, dear uncle! But yesterday I could

have folded my arms around you, and you would have smiled upon me, and loved me; but I was jungrateful and cold-hearted, and I let you go. Oh that I could buy back those precious moments !--that yesterday would again return vIbitud ad Frank strove to soothe heropietoine

grief. But she constantly recurred They found, upon inquiry, that his

a word of th &ht have prevented.

was without warning. He had

returned and passed the afternoon as usual. the evening, at about nine,

he complained of a pain at his heart, and desired Dr Fulton might be sent for. Before the message could have reached him, his breath had departed. Jane," said Frank, " that if I had been at home. I would show

have been too late." r But what reasoning can stifle self-reproach Jane would have given worlds to have recalled the last few years of worldly

engrossment and alienation towards her uncle. But now it was all t99 later. He was alike insensible to her indifference or her affection. That sorrow which is excited merely by circumstances usoon passes away, but there is a deep and holy grief, that raises and sublimates the character after its bitterness is gone.

It is health and strength to the mind. It were

to be wished that Tane's had been of this nature; but it was made up

When Uncle Joshua's will was opened, it was found that the little property he left was secured to Jane's children, with this clause=17

présent, i
it does not appear

that beloved niece wants any part of it. But if, by any change of circumstancesceasure-190 °$119-1910 18111' AMOT DIOJ P8 M901 1901 1250W

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and life is full of change-she should require assistance, she is to receive the annual income of the whole, quarterly, during her life.” He had appointed as executor and guardian of his will Samuel Watson, à respectable mechanic in his own walk of life.

After all,” said Frank with an ironical air, “I don't see, Jane, but you turn out an heiress."

“My dear uncle," returned she in a faltering voice, " has left us all he had. I am unworthy of his kindness."

“ For Heaven's sake, Jane, don't keep for ever harping upon that string. What could you have done more? You say you asked him to come and live with us?".

“ Yes; but now I feel how much more daily and constant attention would have been to him, than any such displays that I occasionally made. I earnestly hope he did not perceive my neglect."

There are no lessons of kindness and good will that come so home to the heart as those which are enforced by sudden death. Who has ever lost a beloved friend, that would not give worlds for one hour of the intercourse for ever gone-one hour to pour forth the swelling affection of the heart, to make atonement for errors and mistakes, to solicit forgiveness, to become perfect in self-sacrifice and disinterested devotion? This is one of the wise and evident uses of sudden death-that we may so live with our friends, that come when and how it will, we may not add to the grievous loss the self-reproach of unkindness or neglected duties.

Jane's heart was bleeding under a feeling of remorse; it wanted soothing and kindness; but Frank seemed vexed and out of humour. “ There could not,” he said, “ be anything more consistent with Uncle Joshua's narrow views than his last will and testament. To make such a man as Samuel Watson his executor and trustee for my children!”

"He was his particular friend; and I have often heard my uncle say he was honesty and uprightness to the backbone,'" replied Jane.

Yes; I know that was a chosen expression of the old gentleman's. However, thank fortune! I need have no association with him. If he had left the property to my care, who am the natural guardian of my children, I could have made something handsome of it by the time they wanted it; but he has so completely tied it up, that it will never get much beyond the paltry sum it is now." ** Samuel Watson, the guardian and executor, was a man much resembling Uncle Joshua in the honest good sense of his character; but he was a husband and a father. His sympathies had been called forth by these strong ties, and by the faithful affection of an excellent wife. They had lived to bury all their children but one, and that one seemed to exist only as a link

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between this world and another. He had been from infancy an invalid. They had hung over him, with prayers and anguish, through many a year of sickness, spending upon him a watchfulness and anxiety that the other two children did not seem to demand, for they were strong in health and activity. The blooming and beautiful had been called in the dawn of life, and the invalid still lingered on. But that health which had been denied to his material structure, seemed doubly bestowed on his mind. He was no longer the feeble object of his mother's solicitude; he was her friend-her counsellor. By degrees he obtained the influence of superior virtue over every one around him; and, from his couch of sickness and pain, afforded a striking proof that there is no situation in life which may not show forth the goodness and power of the Creator. Such were the friends that Uncle Joshua meant to secure to Jane and her children.

The morning that Mr and Mrs Watson came to pay Mrs Fulton a visit,

they found her in a becoming mourning dress, every curl and every fold in place. But their own feelings of kindness supplied the want of hers, and aroused something like sympathy in her mind. “We must be friends," said Mr Watson as he shook her hand with cordiality, or we shall not fulfil the last request of our excellent friend. You must fix on an afternoon to pass with us, and bring all your children.” Jane could not refuse, and the day was appointed; and as Mrs Watson left the room, she said, “ Don't make it later than four."

Impossible," said Frank. “ Go at four! What Goths and Vandals! You will expire before you can get away. I will call and pass half an hour after tea, and I hope this will finish off the intercourse for a year at least. By the by, Jane, put down the day of the month, and next year we will return the invitation the same day.”

When the afternoon arrived, a new obstacle presented itself. Elinor, the eldest daughter, who had attained her sixteenth year, and was to come out the next winter, had her engagements and pursuits; and learned, with a feeling of disappointment, that a long afternoon was to be spent in a scene of domestic dulness and ennui. The sacrifice, however, was to be made; and, with a naturally amiable disposition, and much energy of character, she determined it should be made cheerfully; with a secret hope, however, that they should not see the sick

young man. The sick young man was the first to receive them to welcome them, with a gay and cheerful expression, to his father's house. Mrs Watson lost, at home, all the constraint of forms, to which she was unused. She was kind, maternal, and affectionate. The table was loaded with prints, and works of fancy and taste. Everything was refined, and in good keeping; and, to the as

27

tonishment of the Fultons, Oliver, in fashionable phrase, was

the life of the party.” Instead of allusions to his feeble health, and a list of his infirmities, which the visitors had anticipated, not a word was hinted on the subject. A new treat was prepared for the evening his electrical machine, with its curious experit, ments ; his magic lantern, with its grave and gay scenes, its, passing characters, so true a picture of human life. When the carriage came to convey Elinor to the cotillon party, strange as it may seem, she preferred staying the evening, and the carriage was dismissed.

Dr Fulton did not come, Business undoubtedly prevented him. The family returned, delighted with their visit, and perfectly convinced that, though Oliver looked sick and emaciated, and his hands were so white and almost transparent, he could not suffer much. Mrs Fulton said, “Suffering was not only marked upon the countenance, but it destroyed the force and resolution of the character.” In most cases she was undoubtedly right, but in the present one she was wrong. Sickness and suffering had nerved, not destroyed, the energy of his character; and he had learned to look upon his frame as a machine, which the mind was to control.

About a year passed on after this introductory visit, and during this period Elinor frequently visited Mrs Watson's family; but was at no time accompanied either by her father or mother. Both were engaged with society which they considered more exalted and more creditable. Yet both had not exactly the same ideas of spending time and money. Each followed a separate course in some respects. Frank had wholly ceased his communications to Jane with regard to his pecuniary affairs. Consequently, this mutual source of interest was gone; and as she saw no restraint laid on anything, she presumed very naturally that, as long as his business was so flourishing, it was of little consequence what they expended. Sometimes, when her benevolent feelings were interested, and she gave lavishly and injudiciously, Frank accused her of extravagance. Then came retaliation, and hints that she had always heard that with increase of means came a greater tenacity of money ; for her own part she considered it as dross, if it was not circulating.

Extravagance seems to be a slight fault. In youth we are indulgent to it. We say if there must be wrong, that extreme is better than the opposite; we had rather see it than sordid calculation. But is this all ? Does it stop here? A little reflection will convince any one that, to support extravagance, it must bring a host of allies. There must be injustice-selfishness; and the last auxiliary is fraud. Extravagance is, in truth, living beyond our honest means. It is a word used so lightly, that we almost forget its import.

The time was approaching when a very important event in the

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